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In this Issue: | WET Member Highlight: Avsonic | In the News | Team Member Highlight: David Alexander | Funding and Other Opportunities | Upcoming Events and Webinars | Did You Know?
Valley Ventures alums partner up for technology innovations at California State University, Fresno Dairy

Two of our proud Valley Ventures alums, Bovcontrol and Avsonic, are now doing work at the California State University, Fresno dairy. This dual-pronged partnership was fostered by Dr. Kyle Thompson, enterprise manager for Fresno State’s dairy unit. Thompson recruited the Valley Ventures graduates to collaborate with his onsite team, to both further each company’s growth as legitimate businesses and to create a more efficient production system within the dairy operations.

Bovcontrol has also been working with the dairy unit at Fresno State in an effort to increase the benefits of their product on a more local scale. Marcelo Murachovsky from Bovcontrol said “Valley Ventures introduced us to the Dairy Unit so they could try out our solutions and provide feedback.” Since starting this venture, Bovcontrol has been able to modify their product and increase their overall quality of service.  

Avsonic has contributed cooling units in the dairy to help maintain the core temperature of cows. For Avsonic specifically, the goal is to showcase how their technology can significantly impact water and electricity waste. “Their [Valley Ventures] help in commercializing our product has been huge, particularly in terms of positioning us with manufacturing opportunities and industry experts,” said Todd Burkhalter, on behalf of Avsonic

Valley Ventures works to bring businesses out of their infancy and help them establish a reputation as respectable entrepreneurs. This mutually beneficial collaboration has helped our main location at Fresno State by advancing internal dairy technology while simultaneously allowing our Valley Ventures alums to gain real-world experience in an intimate setting. 

This cooling units are expected to be fully operational by May 1. 

         Valley Ventures applications are now open!
Valley Ventures is now accepting applications for their Fall 2019 Cohort! Participants will take part in exercises and learning modules led by professionals, investors, industry experts, successful entrepreneurs and target consumers. Guest speakers will also offer advice about the evolution of their successful companies at similar stages of customer and venture capital development. To apply, go to

WET Member Highlight: Avsonic 

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Avsonic is making their mark in industrial evaporative cooling with their motion sensor technology that periodically shoots a spray of water into the air to prevent cows from overheating. The company took on the task of using evaporative cooling without adding to water waste. Avsonic is using the connections they garnered since graduating from the Valley Ventures accelerator program to network with experienced professionals and progress forward with their business model. 

Looking to the future, Avsonic has recently completed a fleshed out version of their product and is planning on implementing it throughout five dairies, one of which is located at Fresno State! When speaking with Todd Burkhalter, business manager of Avsonic, Valley Ventures was a common denominator in various key successes for them. 

Burkhalter explained that the accelerator program provides a fantastic opportunity for startup companies and business ventures. “The Valley Ventures team creates a framework made of experienced entrepreneurs and the insights of Valley Ventures team members, which produces an environment for new understanding and growth.” said Burkhalter.  

Learn more about Avsonic at their official website.

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In the News


Aquaoso launched PAWD

Aquaoso, a BTV Valley Ventures alum from the Fall 2017 cohort, has launched a new Programmatic Assistance with Water Data Program!

The Programmatic Assistance with Water Data Program or "PAWD" offers fundamental business assistance to non-profits who have targeted access to better water quality for communities.

Learn more about Aquaoso’s new venture by clicking here!

USDA Census of Agriculture

The National Agriculture Statistics Service, a branch of the USDA, officially released 2017 ag statistics on April 11. The data covers various agriculture-related information ranging from production numbers to demographics for individual states as well as nation-wide. NASS conducted a Q and A in the form of a live-streamed video on their official Twitter account regarding the release of the census.    

The full census, and a network of other resources, are available at the NASS website.

Valley Ventures alum chosen at UN Forum

BoxPower, a Spring 2018 Valley Ventures alum, was chosen as the top pitch at the UN Environment Science Policy Business Forum this past March! This annual forum is dedicated to establishing cleaner, greener channels for advancement in technology. BoxPower, a solar energy solution company, pride themselves on following their motto of “Clean, Reliable Energy. Anywhere.” through various technological advancements in solar power. 

Congratulations to BoxPower on this huge honor! You can read up on their company here

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 VCs not receiving exit returns

Yamaha Motor Ventures partner, Nolan Paul, recently became vocal on the topic of transactions between Venture Capitalists and farmers. He voiced a concern that VCs aren’t receiving adequate returns to justify their investments in ag tech. 

Read more about Paul’s statement here
 The Valuation vs. Traction Matrix 
A graph formulated by entrepreneur, Jason Calacanis, illustrates the business dynamics of startup companies. For first-or second-year startups, navigating data and valuations can be tricky because many ventures lack comparable data. 

With virtually zero frame of reference, business owners are susceptible to precarious situations such as overestimating or underestimating their first- or second-year value.
Read more about the matrix by clicking here.
Highlights from the USDA 2017 Census of Ag

In the latest agriculture census released by the USDA, Fresno County was named the top leading county in the U.S. 

With a profit totaling $45.2 billion for the 2017 fiscal year, California farmers are responsible for garnering 12 percent of the total U.S. Ag-related sales. California was dubbed the top state for their use of renewable energy producing systems in agriculture. 

To read the full Business Journal article, click here.

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Team Member Highlight: David Alexander
david alexander highlight  Meet David Alexander. Originally from Kentfield, California, David received his B.S. in Physical Science from Chico State and a PhD in mechanical engineering from the University of Idaho. 

David serves as the co-PI for the Chico State BlueTechValley Innovation Cluster hub. In this role, he works with startups to establish and grow their businesses and also hosts events to promote entrepreneurial outreach and networking. 

When asked what he loves most about his job, David said, “I am honored to help and support students in learning and growing in their engineering understanding and in their pursuit of their future professional selves.” 

When he is not coordinating events or working closely with tech startups, David enjoys being immersed in nature in the form of landscaping, gardening or hiking
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 Funding and Other Opportunities

$17M grant for infrastructure on tribal lands 
Deadline: May 1, 2019

The Department of Energy has announced their plan to award $17 million through grants awarded to Native American Tribes. The DOE’s goal is to increase the energy infrastructure within tribal lands. 

Apply here!  

$20M grant for Organic Ag Research 

Deadline: May 2, 2019

A branch of NIFA, known as the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative, is calling for applicants to receive their research grant in order to remedy issues within organic agriculture. 

Click here to apply. 

$2M grant for Aquaculture Research
Deadline: May 28, 2019

Applicants are encouraged to pursue this research grant for the preservation of various aspects of aquaculture. The USDA is seeking research proposals that are geared toward the betterment of aquaculture species including, but not limited to, designing sustainable habitats and aquaculture disease prevention.

Click here to apply. 

$90M grant for Agriculture and Food Research
 Deadline: September 26, 2019

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is funding a research grant for agriculture that focuses on food sustainability. NIFA is looking for applicants who plan to expedite the supply of food while also bettering production technology that yield positive impacts on the environment and health of consumers. 

Learn more here.
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Upcoming Events and Webinars

Brief Guide to Digital Security Webinar: A cybersecurity primer 
April 19, 2019

BlueTechValley in Partnership with the Practicum is Berkeley Law, will be hosting a webinar via zoom on April 19, 2019 11:30 am - 12:30 pm.

Berkeley Law's
 interdisciplinary transnational law clinical program, in which JD and MBA students have assisted start-up entrepreneurs, will be putting on this event and invite all startups to join this free legal workshop.

These webinars will focus on different legal aspects of running a business. Join BlueTechValley and Berkeley Law for this legal workshop by registering


  Intellectual Property Strategy Is a Business Strategy 
April 23, 2019 – Bakersfield, California

Ever been curious about patents, or how to trademark your intellectual property? 

CSU Bakersfield will be able to answer these burning questions and more with their intellectual property event on Tuesday, April 23 in Bakersfield, California. Stephen Koziol, Assistant Regional Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will be giving a talk on IP strategies geared toward small business owners. 

One-on-one consultation will be provided after presentation. Admission is free but space is limited! Register here
Danish Water Technology Alliance 
 April 30, 2019
In Denmark, the water suppliers are regulated on water loss and revenue cap. These challenges have established technological development and smart solutions to operate in the water distribution network to keep leakage at a very low level and the pressure close to a service level. The Smart Water Distribution Workshop aims to share knowledge, ideas and solutions across the Atlantic between California and Denmark.
The workshop will focus on specific cases highlighting experiences and solutions in the following areas:
• Drivers and response in Denmark and CA - from regulation to economic efficiency
• Considerations when choosing technologies to manage water loss and Non-Revenue Water
• Proactive leak detection, Pressure Management, DMA's and AMI

Learn more here

WTA workshop Fresno 2019


CEO Crash Course
May 3, 10, and 17 – Stockton, CA

Want to learn how to operate your business like a real CEO? 

Have a good idea for a business but unsure of what you need to do? Join the CEO Crash Course, brought to you by BlueTechValley, CleanStart and Valley Ventures! The CEO Crash Course is a business development boot camp being offered this May in the Stockton area. 

The course will provide you with an understanding of the key components needed to draft a business model. We will offer concentrations in CEO fundamentals such as how to pitch an idea, the legalities of business, marketing, leadership, team building and more! 

By the end of the course, you will have developed concrete skills that will aid in advancing your venture. 
The three-day boot camp is FREE but a limited number of seats are available! 

Apply now to jump-start your venture. 
 Water-Energy Nexus Registry  
Monday May 13, 2019 - Sacramento, California

The Climate Registry is holding an event at the CalEPA headquarters in Sacramento in May. This event will be a great opportunity to network and hear from prominent players in the water and energy world. There will also be a webinar orientation for those who cannot attend in person. 

Register here

 water energy nexus registry
wta other logo  Groundwater workshop in Fresno
May 13, 2019

Denmark-based technology and water sustainability team, Water Technology Alliance, will hold an outreach program meeting at Fresno State on May 13. 

This is part of Fresno State President Joseph Castro’s ongoing commitment to highlight water conservation in the San Joaquin Valley. Priding themselves on excelling in cost-friendly water and sustainability operations, the Water Technology Alliance hopes to engage with Fresno State in order to broaden the steps Denmark and North America can take in improving water sustainability. 

This event will highlight groundwater as Denmark has refined their groundwater data monitoring and is now prepared to extend that same technology to North America, beginning with the San Joaquin Valley.

Click here to learn more about the WTA. 
 ARPA-E 2019 Summit 
July 8-10, 2019

ARPA-E is hosting an energy innovation summit in Denver, CO this summer. Held at the Gaylord Rockies Convention Center, ARPA-E will have a panel series on geothermal and energy technology as well as a diversity luncheon. 

In addition to this summit, one of BlueTechValley’s own ventures, Opcondys, was granted nearly $3M in funding from ARPA-E.  

To register for the event, click here.
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Central Valley Innovation & Entrepreneurship Forum
October 23, 2019

Save the date for the 2019 Central Valley Innovation & Entrepreneurship Forum! 

Investors, entrepreneurs and innovators are encouraged to mark their calendars for the October 23 event. The day-long forum will include panel discussions tailored towards startup companies and networking opportunities for our Valley Ventures alum and other ventures. 

Mark your calendars and join us in Clovis, California for this important opportunity to expand your venture and connect with like businesses.

Learn more here.
 Did You Know?

April is National Inventors Month! The 22nd is Earth Day and the 25th is National Take Our Sons and Daughters to Work Day! Let us know how you’re celebrating these fun holidays by tagging us @BTVCluster on Twitter or using the hashtag #BTVIC 

Follow us on social media or contact us at!

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